I love anger. You’re probably not supposed to have a favourite feeling because all feelings are important, but I do love anger. Anger has so many great functions. It can energise us. If unleashed, our anger can help us run faster, bite harder, and throw, move and break bigger things than we can when we are not so angry.
If emotions are the human dashboard that guides us through our body’s journey through life, when someone’s anger flares, it’s a great warning sign. Anger is a way our body and brain use to yell at us to pull over and make sure we pay attention to something that is not quite right.
Can you imagine what is would be like to have your beautiful young son or daughter come to you with such hatred for their appearance that they are begging you to take them to a plastic surgeon?
I think from time to time we all check out our image in the mirror and make an evaluation of it. Some people (young and old) make such critical evaluations of their appearance that they start to believe that they are unable to contribute to any sort of life because of their appearance. When this becomes debilitating, we usually consider a diagnosis of Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Meltdowns – We’ve all had them. Some of us have had them more recently than others. Some might live with someone (grown up or little) who frequently melts down.
In psychology, we understand that melt downs are the letting out of built up emotions – frustration, excitement, disappointment, anger, despair, grief….
Yes – it’s on! Mother’s day is upon us and so, too, the carefully crafted junk mail and television commercials – Images of blow-waved children bouncing onto a perfectly ruffled bed on a sun-streamed morning bringing breakfast on a delicately manicured tray while a handsome man with the just right amount of five o’clock shadow smiles on from the bedroom door. Ahhh! Motherhood!
We all know that motherhood is rarely perfect. But – how much leeway is there from “perfect” before it starts to have a detrimental effect on families?
We’ve all felt the feeling of boredom. For some of us it might have been longer ago than others. Many of us have busy and full lives these days, but some children (and some adults) are more prone to experiencing boredom.
While it is normal to feel bored from time to time, a low tolerance for the feeling of boredom has been associated with a number of concerning outcomes including depression and hostile aggression. Those who are boredom prone are also more likely to procrastinate, feel insecure and more likely value the end product of activity (eg payment for work) rather than extract joy and meaning from the activity itself. Boredom has also been cited as a factor in studies of substance use, internet addiction, dropping out of school and marital issues.
I’m sure if you have ever played a computer game or console game you know that they can be great fun and a handy distraction. Like anything fun in the history of humankind, though, there is the potential for life to get out of balance if too much of our time is dedicated to one source of enjoyment. Until they are old enough to curb urges and delay gratification (jobs linked to the brain’s cortex), children need parents to act as their cortex. Until children fully develop a cortex of their own they need limits set on their exposure to all things that might compete with living a happy and healthy life – they need some limits on gaming time.
In all of the years I have been in clinical and forensic practice with young people, I have never seen a young offender who has been convicted of a violent crime solely because they played too many computer or console games. Child development is much more complex than that! However there is perhaps a more frequent or common concerning trend and that is where gaming starts to interrupt a happy, healthy and social life for the individual or their family.
“Your child needs help” they said. “Something is not right with him” they said. “Maybe you should take her to see someone”. That’s all very easy for other people to say, but how do they know? How do you know if your child has a problem and if your child does have a problem? How do you find the best person to help them? Surely it takes more than just “seeing someone”?
Yes, there are some days when we could all use someone to talk to about our worries, fears or problems and children are no exception! In terms of taking your child to see a psychologist, there is a general rule of thumb that can assist. If your child’s problem has persisted for some time and is starting to get in the way of them having a happy and regular life, then it might be time to consider getting them (and you) some extra help.
A biopsychosocial look at mental health during the adolescent years including: Brain development, Identity formation, Risk taking – substance use, self harm, Relationships, Socialising and social media, Counselling, parenting and support. A framework for understanding what might be going on for her.
Shona Innes, Senior Clinical & Forensic Psychologist 499 Hargreaves Street (Corner Myrtle & Hargreaves Sts) Daytime: Saturday 23rd August 11-12.30 or Evening: Wednesday 20th August 6.30-8. Cost: $45. Limited places available. Phone Irene or Alicia 5443 2284 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your place with a payment.
The world is not always a predictable place. Sometimes it can be just cruel and awful. This week, the incident involving the Malaysian Airlines passengers flying above the Ukraine has been a terrible example of the unexpected side of the people of our world. Our special wishes need to be extended to all of those who are some way involved or related to those who lost their lives in the tragedy.
News of such a tragedy usually starts to flood our heads and our homes via screens or over the sound waves. Often, the updates are accompanied by graphic pictures on the television and in the papers. Special updates interrupting normal viewing or listening habits. Our conversations and our tones of voice change. So, it is important that we are mindful of our children’s responses to these kinds of events. The way that we react can affect the way that they react and how they learn about the world and coping when tragedies occur.
As the amazing human brain develops, it moves from a pretty primitive state of jumbled up nerve networks, through to a very complex series of coordinated networks over the years. The first networks that come on board start to link our senses to our brains – we can start to see and hear. As we age, our biology and our growing experiences connect pathways and we are able to do things that are more complex – so complex that some of our brains can even master algebra, fly fishing or a baking a sponge cake.
Our brains also start to become more efficient. We start to prune back the pathways we don’t need so that we can become more efficient at what we do. At about age 25, the pathways in our brain are covered in an insulating substance called myelin, which essentially stops messages leaking out on their journey along the pathways and we get even more efficient at the things we practice. Some things even become automatic.
So, as we journey through life, we are taking information into our brain and trying to work out where it should fit. In essence we make a set of rules, core beliefs or schemas upon which we build up our bank of ideas about how the world works and what is going to work best for us. The rules that govern our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are buried deep within our brain. Each of us has a unique bank of rules because we all started with varying biology and then from the very get go, we all began to experience the world differently.